What is Hamburg like. Well it’s night, it’s 10.05pm and the sky is a darkening blue. The sun has gone down but it’s still light. A family sit next to me. They’ve got ice-cream cones in their hands. A late night treat on Sunday. Sunday has been a quiet day in Germany. People sleep our tour guide told us, but it feels like a family day too, shops closed,traffic slow. Perhaps it’s due to the World Champion Triathlon being held in the city, perhaps not. We watched as Emma Moffat, Emma Snowsill, Emma Jackson (all Aussies) came first, second and third in the competition. And we listened to the national anthem, which is a proud moment when you’re away from home.
We arrived into Hamburg the day before to find our hostel was hotel-like. And brand spanking new. From there we walked the Sternschanze area which is the student part of town, very Brunswick-esque. Graffiti covered walls and brick buildings with vegetation for furnishings. The markets here were amazing. Once more I will say that European markets are filled with treasures. Vintage leather bags, jewelry, clothes, radios from throughout the ages…who could say no? Opposite the market was a block of concrete, rising high into the sky. We discovered this was an old Nazi bunker. It looked impenetrable. We finished the day in ‘central park’ a transformed beach park facility with bars and music, deck chairs and tables. We ate our Lidl dinner of bits and pieces and chatted until the stars were out.
We completed a walking tour learning the ins and outs of Hamburg. We saw the dock that is the second largest in Europe, we learnt that Hamburg is the wealthiest city in Germany. We stood in front of the haus (office building) of the pesticide company that provided and engineered the cyclone B gas, murdering millions of Jews in the holocaust extermination camps. We see bombed buildings and churches and learn that of the one million living in Hamburg during Second World War 900,000 were left without a home after the allies bombed Hamburg to crumbs. We caught a free ferry through the harbor and caught the end of the world triathlon. And for dinner we ate hamburgers in Hamburg looking over a lake. That is Hamburg in a page.